Starfield Crew Skills guide: Crew Skill effects & Best Skills

Companions are a long-traditional concept in Bethesda Game Studios RPGs, but Starfield takes things up a notch through giving you your own starship and planetary outposts to manage. These are complicated things - and so the game lets you recruit crew members as staff - and in the finest RPG fashion, each potential hire has crew skills that you’ll want to consider.

On this page, which is something of a work in progress, we explain exactly how the crew skills work in Starfield, slightly over-complicated as they are, plus take a look at all crew skills in an attempt to deciper which might be the best.

Starfield Crew Skills explained

Crew Skills are a vital way to give yourself an edge in ship combat and Outpost building in Starfield - but to use them effectively, you'll need to understand them.

The concept of Starfield’s crew skills is pretty simple on paper, which is that different companion and crew characters you meet are good at different things - and you’ll want to think about who to recruit and who to put on what job based on those skills. However, the nature of the skills themselves is actually a little more obtuse and complicated than it first seems.

Specifically, despite often sharing names with some of the Perks and Skills that the player can pick as part of their character progression, Crew skill effects work slightly differently than those of the player. Or, at least, some do. Others are actually identical. See what I mean? It’s a little confusing.

For example, the Shield Systems crew skill at first looks like it works exactly as it does for the player, giving additional capacity to your ship’s shield systems. However, the way the skill ranks up differs between the two: the player version of the skill gives a higher boost to capacity the higher the rank, while the crew skill version always gives +20% shield capacity, but can also give a bonus towards the power for the shield systems instead.

It’s worth noting that in our testing, it definitely appears that crew skill effects stack with your own skills. That means if you pump points into Payloads, for instance, and then also have a crew member with a decent rank in that skill, you can supercharge your cargo capacity massively. The same is true for any other system boosted by crew and player skills. 

However, crew skills don’t stack from multiple crew members - so if you have two shield-boosting crew members, you’ll only receive the bonus from one of them. 

Crew members can't be dismissed in Starfield once recruited - you can remove them from your ship or outpost, but they'll always remain available to assign. This can clog up the menus, but it's also a good thing - it means you can hoard good crew members. If you see someone who has a crew skill you want and can afford to hire them, you should - as you can just leave them unassigned until the time comes that you need them.

It’s still fairly unclear exactly what every single crew skill does - but we’re testing as many as we can, and will update this page as we learn more.

Crew Skill Effects List

Crew Skills are always listed on your crew page - so you can come back and review available crewmen and skills at any time.

If you’re trying to figure out what the best skills are and which crew members to prioritize as a result, well, you need to know exactly what each crew skill does. You can then recruit and assign crew members to fit the way you operate your ship, or even go ahead and target a specific recruit, such as the hidden companion unlocked in the Operation Starseed mission

Here’s the base effect of every Crew Skill we’ve figured out so far. Remember, higher ranks in a skill usually means the effect will be larger and more pronounced. 

  • Astrodynamics: Reduces the Fuel Cost of grav jumps, meaning you can make longer jumps with lower-tier fuel tanks. You can of course upgrade this yourself by heading to Ship Manufacturer Shipyards and buying better fuel tanks, though.
  • Aneutronic Fusion: Gives you additional Reactor Power on your ship beyond that which your 
  • Leadership: Raises the number cap of the number of crew you can have, which otherwise can only be raised by the player’s skill tree.
  • Payloads: Raises the amount of cargo capacity of your ship’s cargo holds by a percentage modifier determined by the skill level.
  • Piloting: Raises the top speed of your ship. At higher ranks can also add a block of power to your ship’s engine.
  • Shield Systems: Adds to your ship’s total shield capacity; higher ranks add more shields or add a block of power to the shield system.
  • Starship Engineering: Increases the repair speed when you have to repair your ship mid-combat. The higher the rank, the quicker repairs will be.
  • Weapon Certification (Rifles, Lasers, etc): Boosts the combat effectiveness of that character as a companion when they’re out adventuring with you - so long as they’re using the related weapon. 
  • Weapon Systems (Ballistic, Energy, EM, Missile, Particle Beam): Boosts the damage output for the weapon system named in whatever version of the skill you’re dealing with.

We’ll update this list with more crew skill effects across their various ranks as we discover more - testing continues.